Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus

Did they tell you there is a war in Europe?

by Giacomo Mottola

One of the biggest differences I find in the novitiate compared to life outside is access to information. Before entering the Novitiate, in fact, I was largely accustomed to receiving notifications on my mobile phone whenever something important was happening in the world. Brief flashes of news with which the world was knocking on my pocket at all hours were then added to my morning listening to the news podcasts of one of the major Italian newspapers to which I subscribed.

Here in the novitiate I don’t have a smartphone so I had to update my way of accessing information. We receive in subscription the Catholic daily newspaper Avvenire from the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), which arrives regularly from Tuesday to Friday, while the Saturday and Sunday editions arrive together on Monday, due to the two days off of the postman. On Sundays, however, we can read the Corriere della sera with its literature insert.

We are generally informed about what is happening in the rest of the world through the weekly magazine Internazionale, which carries a selection of articles from the world’s leading newspapers, translated into Italian. In addition to this information magazine, we receive La Civiltà Cattolica every two weeks and Aggiornamenti Sociali every month. These two magazines of the Society of Jesus, although with a different focus, try to follow and deepen current issues together with cultural and religious ones, the first one, and economic and social ones, the second one. In addition to the printed information, we have the possibility, for half an hour a day, to access the web to possibly consult the free sections of national and foreign newspapers.

Not having my smartphone at my disposal has taught me again to distinguish clearly between the times of the day’s activities. In fact, if my first appointment in the morning is my meeting with Jesus in prayer, I am sure that I will not be disturbed by notifications or tempted to read the first news or messages. I have the possibility of having an in-depth analysis of reality through the aforementioned magazines that offer a Catholic or lay point of view on the events of the last few days. In short, all I have to do is read. So yes, we have heard that there is war in Europe and we have the opportunity to investigate the facts without the hassle of Western or Russian propaganda.

Giacomo Mottola

He does…indeed…make all things new

by Alessandro Di Mauro

‘Behold, I make all things new’ Rev 21:5

It has been almost a year since I began this new journey as a Jesuit novice. When I chose to be a Jesuit I was really very happy, perhaps I had never achieved such happiness, it was 3 June 2021, then so many thoughts, so many desires that resurfaced, so much… fear I would say today. But when you are in desolation, you don’t go back on your choices, you go ahead and wait again for the consolation you felt on the day of your choice. Afterwards there were the interviews with four Jesuit fathers and every time I came out of one of these interviews, joy burst in my heart as a sign that I was going in the most beautiful direction for me.

The fear disappeared when I knocked on the door of the novitiate on 2 October: as I entered, the face of the second-year novice immediately made me feel welcome and at home. The smells, the colours, the objects I saw and touched in the novitiate in the first moments told my heart that I was, at last, at home. Thus began my journey in the novitiate, I got to know my fellow novices and the formation fathers. I begin my apostolate in the parish and then there are the experiments: the month of exercises and the month in hospital. Everything runs but everything is lived with a calmness of heart that helps you savour each moment and stop every day to thank the Lord for the gift of life and yours in particular. During the exercises I experienced my frailties: that I do not love the Lord enough (I will say during a sharing), but that the Lord is there extending his hand to me and that even my small attempt to love him is precious in his eyes and it is his grace that is enough to follow him.

My journey goes on and I experience the difficulty of rethinking my life before this choice and community life: it is quite a challenge. But I never felt alone, never abandoned, the Lord took my doubts, my weaknesses and used them to love me even more to make me live differently: fuller, richer and more joyful. The month I spent in hospital supporting the guests of an RSA was the moment when this love of God was poured out to our brothers and sisters in need, the moment when you really understand that you are, as St Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say, a pencil in the hands of God. And here we are during the summer period when I am experiencing the beauty of encounter and free service to understand once again that it is the Lord who makes…really…all things new by taking over and enhancing your life.

Alessandro Di Mauro

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